With almost half of its total resident population either born in a foreign country or the child of such a person, Australia is one of the world’s quintessential immigration countries. Moreover, in mid-2008 there were also over 800 000 people in Australia on a temporary basis (equivalent to 3.8 percent of the resident population) and a million Australians living overseas on a permanent or long-term basis.1 It is, together with Canada, the United States and New Zealand, one of the world’s traditional immigration countries, with a history of planned immigration extending more than two centuries and a majority of its resident population perceiving migration as having a positive economic and social impact.

On the eve of European settlement in the late eighteenth century, Australia had an indigenous population of an estimated 300 000 persons. However, while the contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population was estimated to be 517 043 in 2006, the total Australian population had grown to 21 644 000 by the end of 2008.2 as a result of waves of immigration and their subsequent fertility.

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CP_21_Australia.pdf 363.37 KB